Historic Droitwich Its Streets and People

17 High Street, Star Yard (St Andrew's Parish)

This is the eastern third of a larger timber framed structure built in 1513 opposite St Andrew's church and the market held there, so in a prime commercial position.  Displaying highly decorative carved timbers on its street frontage and with substantial oak timber trusses inside, it was a two storey 'terrace' which was probably always 3 separate properties, likely to have had retail space and storage in the ground floor and accommodation above.  The first floor was jettied, projecting out over the street wall of the ground floor, like many timber frame buildings in the town, but probably open internally to the roof to show off the impressive timbers of the upper parts of the trusses. 

The western part of the structure (No. 13) was incorporated into the Star and Garter public house at some point (the Star and Garter is mentioned in written records from the 1740s). 

In the early 17th century a large timber frame range was built on the north side, which seems to have been used not wholly for domestic purposes.  Its roof was replaced within a few decades, probably due to fire damage of which some evidence survives in its roof.  

A serious fire damaged a large proportion of the roof timbers and the timber framing at first floor level in the street frontage range of Nos. 15 and 17 at an unknown date, but before the 18th century modernisation. 

In the mid or late 18th century, the street frontage timber framing was removed and replaced with a brick wall and Georgian style windows, giving another more modern unified frontage to the whole building (Nos. 13-17), with a parapet extending above the eaves.  The first floor chambers of both No. 15 and No. 17 were updated, with ceilings inserted and the walls covered in lath and plaster.  The roof of both was also altered, and some of the fire-damaged timbers replaced. 

Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) has given us the first date of construction, while the provision to the project of information on the 1980s restoration and more recent access for our building historian has enabled the capturing of a lot of information about the building's history and architectural development. 

Documentary research has added to the picture and enabled us to put names to the owners and some occupiers back into the second decade of the 1700s. 

The survival of this building is very welcome as it could so easily have been lost.  That it survives is wonderful and its current appearance gives us the clearest insight into what one of Droitwich’s most impressive buildings may have looked like when first built.  We are indebted to a previous owner, Christopher Pancheri, for his sterling efforts to preserve it in the 1980s; and to the current owner, Andrew Brooker-Carey, who has devoted time and resources to ongoing maintenance and repairs and allowed ongoing access for the project's experts, and is always enthusiastic when welcoming visitors to the building.

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